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Jed Olivarez overwhelms Fritz Verdad, nets MITF Open crown

Jed Olivarez delivered a crucial breakthrough in the early stages and replicated the feat late in the second set, clinching a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Fritz Verdad to secure the MITF Open Tennis Championship crown at the Metropolis courts in Iloilo City last Monday.

The 25-year-old product of Western Michigan University crafted those breaks in shutout fashion, denying Verdad any opportunity to counter. He gallantly held his ground while serving, capping off a remarkable campaign in the Group A tournament that earned him P60,000.

Olivarez had earlier dominated Elemar Sealza, 6-1, 6-0, triumphed over Bryan Saarenas, 6-3, 6-1, and survived Andre Alcantara, 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-2. The second-ranked Olivarez then defeated No. 6 Nilo Ledama, 6-2, 6-4, before facing off with Verdad.

In the finals, Olivarez quickly asserted his class, breaking Verdad in the fourth game before maintaining control. Verdad, however, entered the next frame determined to extend the match, resulting in a serve-trading battle in the first six games.

Olivarez then secured four consecutive points to break Verdad in the seventh, held serve in the following game, and the two traded shutout wins in the next two games, leading to Olivarez’s victory.

This triumph followed his win at the Rep. Edward Hagedorn Open in Palawan last August.

Later, Olivarez teamed up with Josshua Kinaadman to rally past Vicente Anasta and Noel Damian, 6-7(3), 6-2, 10-5, seizing the men’s double crown and completing a sweep of the premier titles in the first Open championship hosted by Iloilo.

Olivarez and Kinaadman had earlier routed Jose Maria Pague and Saarenas, 6-3, 6-1, while Anasta and Damian thwarted the Fil-Am pair of Andre Alcantara and Xavier Calvelo, 7-5, 6-4.

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In the week-long event presented by Dunlop and held as part of the Palawan Pawnshop tennis program led by president/CEO Bobby Castro, other notable winners included Hannah Divinagracia and Joana Tan, who defeated Alexa Milliam and Elizabeth Abarquez, 8-3, for the women’s doubles Open trophy; Damian and Milliam, who beat Eric Tangub and Hannah Divinagracia, 8-4, for the mixed doubles title; Glenda Ong and Michelle Panis, who narrowly edged Tan and Espie Divinagracia, 8-7(7), for the women’s 30s crown; Eduardo Rodriguez Jr. and Guendell Orcullo, who claimed the 40s crown via a 4-4(ret.) win over Japhet Bartolome and Juvia Divinagracia; Danny Sajonia and Jonito Crisosto, who routed Tony Siega and Vicente Ducado, 8-3, for the 50s diadem; and Josephus Cerna and Justo Cerna, who secured the 60s tiara with an 8-5 victory over Nene Sagansay and Rex Saison.

In the juniors category, Kendrick Bona defeated Ian Ituriaga, 6-0, 6-0, while Hannah Divinagracia overcame Louraine Jallorina, 6-1, 6-2, for the boys’ and girls’ 18-and-under titles, respectively.

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